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Relativity Sets Lasse Hallstrom, ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ Scribe Craig Borten For John D. Rockefeller Pic

By | Tuesday February 11, 2014 @ 12:56pm PST
Mike Fleming

TitanJohnDRockefellerRelativity has optioned the Ron Chernow book Titan: The Life Of John D. Rockefeller and will develop a feature on America’s first billionaire for Lasse Hallstrom to direct. Script will be written by Craig Borten, who is Oscar-nominated for Dallas Buyers Club.

The patriarch of one of the country’s richest families, Rockefeller was ruthless in building Standard Oil, and spent 30 years dodging investigations into his business tactics until Teddy Roosevelt took him on. Rockefeller also turned into a philanthropist who gave away most of his fortune. Hallstrom sparked to telling the story of “the first Rockefeller, John D., and his rise to fame and fortune.”

SELF Magazine and Relativity Media's Special New York Screening of "Safe Haven" - Red Carpet2014 Writers Guild Awards Annual Beyond Words Panel EventIt is a sprawling undertaking, but Borten is used to that. He said he met Dallas Buyers Club protagonist Ron Woodruff in 1992 and had his first script draft done two years later, and it took nearly two decades for the film to get made. On the surface, the two subjects seem entirely different but Borten sees similarities. “Each saw capitalism as a way to divide and conquer and accumulate but ultimately became most memorable for giving back,” he told me. “Lasse’s early films like My Life As A Dog and Gilbert Grape changed my view of storytelling with his humanistic approach to characters. That was a major reason for me doing this.” Read More »

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Paul Walker Movie ‘Brick Mansions’ Pushed To April Release

By | Thursday February 6, 2014 @ 11:47am PST

BrickMansionsRelativity Media said today that Brick Mansions, one of final films completed by Paul Walker before he was killed in a car crash in November, will be released in theaters on April 25. A February date had been eyed for the pic, an English-language reboot of the 2004 French movie Banlieue 13, before Walker’s death. At the time, the film’s producer EuropaCorp told Deadline it was trying to maintain the production and release schedule of Mansions, which stars Walker as an undercover cop trying to take down a crime lord in a dystopian Detroit. The actor was in most of the scenes and had finished looping the pic only three days before his death, and a test screening the following week was scrapped as co-producers Relativity and EuropaCorp scrambled to regroup. “Paul is the big movie star in our movie — it is built around him. Paul is in about 80% of the scenes,” said CEO Christophe Lambert at the time. “For sure it’s going to be one of the last big movies of his life and it’s Paul at his best.” David Belle and Rza co-star and film editor Camille Delamarre (Taken 2, Colombiana) is making his directorial debut.

Relativity’s Earth To Echo, which had been on that April 25 date, is moving to July 2.

Relativity and EuropaCorp are making a donation — including the cost of the film’s world premiere — to Walker’s charity Reach Out WorldWide, and Walker’s manager … Read More »

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Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh On Tom Sherak

By | Thursday January 30, 2014 @ 7:49am PST
Mike Fleming

sherakAdd Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh to the chorus of industry heavyweights who owe a debt to Tom Sherak, who died this week. The film business basically shuts down part of today as they gather to pay tribute to the former AMPAS head.

Related: Hollywood Remembers Tom Sherak

An Open Letter from Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity:

I first met Tom Sherak when I was a student at UCLA. Tom taught a course called “Distribution 101.” I was fortunate enough to not only have him as my teacher, but for him to become my mentor. That first class led to what would become a lifelong friendship and an incredible source of personal encouragement and strength for me. I always knew that no matter what the issue or how seemingly unsurmountable the problem, Tom would be there to guide me. I deeply mourn his loss, but more importantly, celebrate his life.

This is an incredible man. Tom strived to make the world better, and we should honor and remember him for his life changing contributions to industry, medicine and philanthropy.

In an industry where adversity is too often the norm and where new ideas are often fought with vigor, Tom was a consistent voice for positive change. He relished in the success of others — not for personal financial gain but for the love of being a great mentor and friend. Tom’s spirit will continue to live on through the many people he guided, helped and loved. His contributions are immeasurable.

Read More »

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Sundance: WWE Studios Takes Stake In Toronto Genre Pic ‘Oculus’

By | Friday January 17, 2014 @ 4:40pm PST
Mike Fleming

ocuWWE Studios has teamed with Relativity and Blumhouse Productions on the Mike Flanagan-directed Intrepid Pictures horror film Oculus, which was acquired at Toronto last fall. The film stars Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane and Katee Sackhoff. WWE Studios will lend its hand in promoting the film which was produced by Trevor Macy and Marc D. Evans, who co-financed with MICA Entertainment. Pic will be released theatrically on April 11. The screenplay is by Flanagan & Jeff Howard based on the short film Oculus: The Man With The Plan, written by Flanagan & Jeff Seidman. Read More »

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Relativity Moves Horror Pic ‘Oculus’ Out Of Easter Weekend

By | Thursday January 16, 2014 @ 2:52pm PST

OculusAnd now there are five movies opening wide the weekend before Easter. Relativity has shifted Oculus from April 18 — where it slotted the horror pic only a month ago — to April 11, adding to an already-crowded frame. The Blumhouse film starring Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane and Katee Sackhoff now will open against Fox’s toon sequel Rio 2, Lionsgate’s Kevin Costner football drama Draft Day, Open Road’s Arnold Schwarzenegger actioner Sabotage and the Weinstein Company’s Bill Murray pic St. Vincent De Van Nuys. Mike Flanagan directs Oculus, about a pair of grown siblings who set out to expose and destroy the haunted mirror they believe was responsible for their parents’ murder a decade earlier. Flanagan and Jeff Howard wrote the script. The film was developed and produced by Intrepid Pictures, which co-financed with MICA Entertainment.

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Hot Trailer: ‘3 Days To Kill’

McG‘s darkly comic action thriller follows a Secret Service agent (Kevin Costner) who comes out of retirement for one last mission in exchange for access to an experimental drug –administered by Amber Heard — that could save his life. Hallucinatory action ensues as he tries to complete the mission while battling the drug’s side effects and, for good measure, trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) while his ex-wife (Connie Nielsen) is out of town. Got all that? Luc Besson and Adi Hasak wrote Relativity Media’s 3 Days To Kill, which Besson produced with Ryan Kavanaugh. Marc Libert and Tucker Tooley are executive producers. Here’s the new trailer:

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Relativity & Blumhouse Set April Release For ‘Oculus’

By | Wednesday December 11, 2013 @ 9:55am PST

oculusMike Flanagan directs the horror pic about a pair of grown siblings who set out to expose and destroy the haunted mirror they believe was responsible for their parents’ murder ten years prior, starring Karen Gillen (Doctor Who), Brenton Thwaites (Maleficent), Rory Cochrane (Argo), and Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica). Relativity and Blumhouse Productions acquired Oculus out of Toronto’s Midnight Madness selection where it premiered in September. They’ve set an April 18, 2014 theatrical release for Oculus which was written by Flanagan and Jeff Howard from a short story by Flanagan and Jeff Seidman and developed/produced by Intrepid Pictures. Trevor Macy and Marc D. Evans also produced the film. Flanagan is at work on his next horror film, Somnia, starring Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane.

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‘Out Of The Furnace’ Headed To LA & NYC Two Days Before Wide Release

By | Thursday November 21, 2013 @ 5:27pm PST

Folks in America’s media capitals will get an early look at Scott Cooper‘s awards-season drama. Relativity said today that Out Of The Furnace will open December 4 in limited release in Los Angeles and New York, two days before it goes out wide. The film, which had its world premiere November 9 at the AFI Fest and won an award at Rome last week, stars Christian Bale as a Rust Belt ex-con out for justice when his brother is drawn into a ruthless crime gang. It’s Cooper’s follow-up to his first feature, 2009′s Crazy Heart. He and Brad Ingelsby wrote the pic, which also stars Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana and Sam Shepard.

Related:
Fleming Q&As ‘Out Of The Furnace’ Helmer Scott Cooper
Hot Trailer: ‘Out Of The Furnace’

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Chris Pratt In Early Talks For ‘Jurassic World’; Dwayne Johnson & Relativity Set For ‘Not Without Hope’; Hannah Marks Joins ‘Anesthesia’; Harry Hamlin & Irina Bjorklund Spark ‘Erotic Fire’

By | Wednesday November 13, 2013 @ 6:44pm PST

Chris Pratt is in very early talks for Jurassic World, the 3D sequel that Universal will release June 12, 2015. The actor would play the role Josh Brolin was being  eyed for last month. Colin Trevorrow is directing the pic, and he co-wrote the latest draft with Derek Connolly. Steven Spielberg is producing the film with Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley. Pratt next appears in the Vince Vaughn starrer Delivery Man , which opens next weekend. He has a voice role in The Lego Movie and also will star in Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy. Recent film credits include Zero Dark Thirty and The Five-Year Engagement. Pratt also stars on NBC’s Parks And Recreation. He is repped by CAA and Mosaic.

Related: Ty Simpkins Lands Lead In ‘Jurassic World’

Dwayne Johnson is attached to star in Not Without Hope for Relativity, which will finance, produce, and distribute the deep-sea survival pic. Johnson will play Nick Schuyler, whose best-selling memoirs form the true-story basis of the film. Pic tracks Schuyler and his three buds, including NFL players Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith and ex-college athlete Will Bleakley, whose fishing trip went awry, leaving the foursome adrift off the coast of Florida in 2009. Read More »

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Ryan Kavanaugh Aligns Relativity With Major League Gaming

By | Tuesday October 22, 2013 @ 7:42am PDT
Mike Fleming

Relativity Media‘s Ryan Kavanaugh has aligned with e-sports enterprise Major League Gaming and joined its board of directors. I am not sure where all this sports e-stuff is going, but it certainly bolsters Kavanaugh’s credentials if, for instance, he was vying to become commissioner of your fantasy football league. Actually, Relativity Sports has become one of Kavanaugh’s biggest business, repping over 300 athletes and growing. This alliance, he hopes, will allow him to marry his sports and content creation businesses.

Relativity and Major League Gaming (MLG), the global leader in eSports, today announced a strategic content and marketing partnership across sports management, television, film and digital media. In addition, Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity, has joined the MLG Board of Directors, working with the MLG executive team to further the company’s position as a mainstream media property and breakout sport of the future.

The collaboration will accelerate MLG’s growth, drive appointment viewing and further strengthen Relativity’s presence in the gaming space through MLG’s deep engagement with the elusive young male audience. The two companies will work together in a variety of ways including:

Read More »

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Mipcom: Relativity’s Ryan Kavanaugh On ‘Limitless’ Possibilities, Movies As Pilots, New Content Platform For Studio’s Output

By | Tuesday October 8, 2013 @ 10:12am PDT

Relativity Media founder and CEO Ryan Kavanaugh strode onto the main stage here at Mipcom today, providing a run-down of his business model versus the Hollywood studios’ “blockbuster or bust” mentality, declaring that Relativity’s just-announced Limitless TV series “could be one of the biggest shows that’s ever been”, and announcing his intention to build a digital TV Everywhere-style platform within the next 12 months.

Kavanaugh was in Cannes in support of Limitless and Act Of Valor, two new series based on the studio’s own films. Bradley Cooper is executive producing Limitless, which is part of Relativity’s expansion into scripted television. Kavanaugh said some very big stars were interested, adding “Who knows? (Cooper) may be in the first episode.” Relativity also just received a greenlight at National Geographic Channel for its first scripted series, drama Act Of Valor. The company’s unscripted portfolio already has 17 series currently on air including MTV hit Catfish, an offshoot from its documentary feature.

Related: Relativity Teams For Series Based On Film ‘Limitless’

Kavanaugh explained he had an “epiphany” about turning Relativity movies into TV shows after Catfish. Although the film was profitable, it was an underperformer by traditional measures. Yet, young people kept telling him how much they enjoyed it. “Based on what I was hearing, I went back to all of our underperformers” to look at their sell-thru, on demand and DVD numbers as well as the marketing and he realized that if a percentage of the films’ audience could be converted to TV, it would be a win. The same theory could be applied to films that had broader box office appeal, à la Limitless, he said. With 20 million-plus viewers already invested in the movie, “it was the biggest pilot of all time. No TV show has ever had this.” Read More »

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National Geographic Greenlights Relativity’s ‘Act Of Valor’ As First Scripted Series

By | Sunday October 6, 2013 @ 10:15am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: National Geographic Channel is entering the scripted series arena with Act Of Valor, a drama from Relativity and Tandem Communications inspired by Relativity’s successful 2012 Navy SEAL feature. The project, which also marks Relativity’s first scripted series, will begin production in early 2014. Written by Erik Jendresen (Band Of Brothers), Act Of Valor the series focuses on pararescuemen, also known as PJs, who are the unsung heroes tasked with recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments. Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh is expected to address the project in his MIPCOM Media Mastermind Keynote in Cannes on Tuesday. “Relativity’s unique model allows us to successfully transform a film such as Act Of Valor into a highly engaging television series,” he said. “We could not ask for a better home for the series than National Geographic Channel.” This marks the second Relativity movie to spawn a series, following the 2010 documentary Catfish, which led to MTV’s successful reality series of the same name. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Out Of The Furnace’

By | Friday October 4, 2013 @ 12:14pm PDT

Christian Bale stars as a Rust Belt ex-con out for justice when his brother is drawn into a ruthless crime gang in Out Of The Furnace, from Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper. Relativity has set the awards season drama for wide release on December 6 and recently landed a high-profile AFI Fest slot as its world premiere. Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana and Sam Shepard co-star. Check out the new trailer:

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Hot Trailer: ‘Free Birds’

By | Thursday September 26, 2013 @ 2:52pm PDT

Relativity is ramping up toward the November 1 release of Free Birds, which tells the tale of two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks who team to get turkey off the Thanksgiving menu for good. Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson and Amy Poehler lead the voice cast. Jimmy Hayward directs and Scott Mosier, John Strauss and David I. Stern produce Hayward and Mosier’s script.

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Relativity Bolsters Middle East Distribution With Gulf Film Tie-Up & New Venture

By | Tuesday September 24, 2013 @ 2:47pm PDT
Mike Fleming

(Beverly Hills, Calif. and Dubai, United Arab Emirates) September 24, 2013 – Relativity today announced that the company has formed Relativity Middle East, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Relativity Media. The new venture will be headquartered in the region and be a turnkey content supplier for all forms of content in the region. In addition, the company will partner with Middle East-based producers to create original film, television and digitial entertainment content. At the same time, the studio has entered into a Middle East distribution partnership with Gulf Film, LLC, the leading film distributor and exhibitor in the region, accounting for over 50% of the Middle East’s film releases. As part of the multi-year agreement, Gulf Film will distribute Relativity’s films across all media in the territory including Relativity produced and acquired titles and third party, sales agency titles handled by Relativity International.

Read More »

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Relativity Launches Indie Distributor 278 Films

By | Thursday September 19, 2013 @ 2:33pm PDT

Relativity said it has formed 278 Films, which will distribute indie films through the company’s national distribution platform. The stand-alone label will be for producers looking for distribution services while managing their own P&A and as such those pics will be separate from the parent company’s slate. No titles have been set yet. “Relativity has built a world-class distribution platform for our movies and now, we are excited to offer it to independent films looking to bring their stories to audiences across the country”, said Kyle Davies, Relativity’s President of Worldwide Distribution, in announcing the deal.

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Toronto: Relativity, Blumhouse Near Deal For ‘Oculus’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Relativity is near a deal to partner with Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions to acquire Oculus, the Mike Flanagan-directed horror film that debuted at Toronto on Sunday night at the Ryerson in the Midnight Madness section. Relativity plans a wide release. Pic tells the tale of two damaged siblings who, as children, witnessed their parents’ harrowing descent into madness and murder. Brother and sister reunite as adults to expose and destroy the paranormal entity they believe is responsible: the Lasser Glass, which is a legendary mirror once owned by their family.  Flanagan and Jeff Howard wrote the screenplay, which is based on the short screenplay by Flanagan and Jeff Seidman. Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaits and Katee Sackhoff star.

The film was produced by Mark D. Evans and Trevor Macy. Focus Features International is handling international sales and Relativity’s president of production Robbie Brenner is overseeing this. Pic was originally developed by FilmDistrict, which allowed the filmmakers to shop it here at the festival. Paradigm repped it.

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Harvey Weinstein & Ryan Kavanaugh Extortionist Gets 7 Years In Prison

By | Wednesday September 11, 2013 @ 4:30pm PDT

A little more than a year after he was arrested for threatening to kill members of the families of Harvey Weinstein and Ryan Kavanaugh unless he was paid millions, Vivek Shah today was given a stiff sentence behind bars by a federal judge. The 26-year-old West Hollywood actor was given seven years and three months for his $122 million extortion scheme involving the two producers as well as Playtone Co’s Gary Goetzman, Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky and others. Shah sent letters to Weinstein and the Relativity Media boss last summer demanding $4 million and $11.3 million, respectively, be wired to offshore accounts if they didn’t want their loved ones harmed. Despite an elaborate plan of false IDs, anonymous websites and several U.S. Postal Service accounts, the FBI picked up Shah on August 10 in Chicago. “It was an extraordinarily brazen crime, and I’m pleased, for the victims’ sake, that we were able to put a stop to it so quickly,” said U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin of the Southern District of West Virginia in a statement today.

Related: Harvey Weinstein Helps FBI Foil Extortion Plot

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Marvel’s ‘Ghost Rider’ Copyright Case Reaches Settlement

The Ghost Rider will not be driving Marvel into a trial after all. “This letter is to notify you that the Plaintiffs and the Marvel Defendants (including Disney) have amicably agreed to resolve all claims between, among, and against all parties,” said plaintiff and former Marvel freelancer Gary Friedrich’s lawyer in a letter late last week to NYC-based federal District Judge Katherine Forrest (read it here). While no details of the settlement were mention in Charles Krammer’ September 6 letter and no final paperwork has been filed yet, we’ll take that “amicably” at face value and assumed everyone got a piece of the fiery motorcycle-riding superhero. Created in the early 1970s partially by Friedrich, Ghost Rider has been made into two not unsuccessful pics starring Nicolas Cage in 2007 and 2011. Friedrich first filed against Marvel, Columbia TriStar, Relativity Media and others back in 2007, claiming that he owned the renewal term copyrights on the character and his origin story. The case was probably getting a little too hot for some’s comfort.  In late June, Judge Forrest set the trial to start on November 4. The judge’s decision came just over two weeks after the Second Court of Appeals overturned a 2011 ruling of hers in Marvel’s favor.  Now it is all legal smoke soon to disappear. Krammer and Joe Schneider of Riezman … Read More »

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